Kiama is one step closer to having a mental health space. Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP, signed the lease for the Kiama headspace centre on Manning Street, last Tuesday.  

The headspace centre opening, in early 2024, is a federally funded initiative delivering on the election promise from the Albanese Government. Kiama facility will offer mental health and early intervention services to youth between 12 and 25. It hopes to eliminate accessibility issues to mental health services by providing low-cost care for the Illawarra youth. 

Prue Buist, CEO of local Primary Health Network  COORDINAIRE, said that the centre is supported by the neighbouring headspace service in Shellharbour.

“In the last couple of years there have been quite a few losses from mental health in the region, which is really indicating to us that there is an increase in the requirement for these services,” CEO Ms Buist said

“There have been a lot of mental health issues faced particularly in the last couple of years around the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, there is certainly lots that make things difficult,”

Ms Buist said COORDINARE is commissioning Grand Pacific Health (GPH) to open the centre.

 “Having something that’s local and able to be accessed at a time of need is really important. We have got lots of telehealth services that are available to both the youth and adults but there is nothing quite like having a face-based service,” CEO Ms Buist said.

Kiama Councillor and local, Stuart Larkins expressed his support for the new centre as he has witnessed the impacts of the mental health crisis throughout the community.

“It’s a federal funded initiative and I’m very excited that Fiona Philips and the Albanese government have delivered on their commitment” said Mr Larkins

In addition to the new headspace centre, locals can visit the longstanding SENTRAL youth services centre located in Hindmarsh Park, Kiama. The SENTRAL centre has a variety of programs to support youth mental health and support workers.

Larkins noticed the popularity of SENTRAL services grow during the pandemic.

“We do have the SENTRAL youth services in Kiama which is a fantastic resource containing youth workers. That service has been highly used and is over capacity,” Mr Larkin said.

“The headspace will be able to complement the existing services.”

Headspace is a federally funded Youth Mental Health Foundation, the new Kiama facility will join the 150 nationally established centres. The service offers digital and in-person support. Individuals are able to access headspace services via referral or presenting to a centre.